142 f.): “hronrad is evidently related to these expressions. It is not evoked by ‘whale road’ — which suggests a sort of semi-submarine steam-engine running along submerged metal rails over the Atlantic.”, (For the record, the translation Tolkien ends up plumping for is “the sea where the whale rides”.). We can actually be very specific: it originates in a specific work: Thucydides’ Histories [of the Peloponnese War] (written c. 400 B.C.). Prior to this, looking at Homer or Herodotus, commanders give very brief remarks to their troops before a fight, but the fully developed form of the speech, often presented in pairs (one for each army) contrasting the two sides, is all Thucydides. His men probably are scared and they probably do need encouragement and (in the logic of the film) Aragorn and Gimli sure aren’t helping. You have not prepared them for that emotion by telling them they will not experience it. In both the book and the film, there was plenty of reason for Saruman’s host to worry about such a force, even if they had no inkling of the Huorns’ existence (either Erkenbrand’s scattered army in the books or Éomer’s body of cavalry in the film; both exist and ought to be known to a wizard who can scout with birds). Speaking, after all, is the one part of Saruman’s job that he is clearly, explicitly the best at. The weakness isn’t in their weapons (though the relatively poor operational and tactical art does not help), but in their minds. Doubtless, some of that cohesion comes from the fact that Saruman in his arrogant overconfidence has left these men no way out, in either the book or the film. Discover music on Discogs, the largest online music database. Next week, we’ll zoom out again and look at the overall strategic position and try to render a final assessment on Saruman’s leadership. As I’ve noted elsewhere, we want to keep in mind that Greek and Roman literature were produced in extremely militarized societies, especially during the Roman Republic. In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on other Fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world. In each setback, the Rohirrim cohere, they stick tightly together rather than scatter, which is what enables their recovery, time after time. But here, they arrive to mop up Orcs who are not fighting them and who have thrown away their weapons). Particularly “Arise, Riders of Théoden” from the third film is a nearly direct lift of lines from the book. ( Log Out /  Who are the healing classes? Poetry was, in many pre-modern cultures, an essential skill for the aristocrat. Théoden is not going to cut his way through the entire Orc army; the numerical disparity is too great. So began a seemingly comedic speech at the University of Virginia's Valedictory Exercises by actor Ed Helms on Friday. No, I think the reason these speeches fall so flat is because they don’t serve the role of battle speeches really, rather they serve to emphasize the threat of the Uruk-hai to our heroes. One thing oddly missing is the kenning, Old English poetry’s habit of evocative two-word metaphors used in place of common nouns; the normal example is “whale-road” (hron-rad) to mean “the sea.”. While the speaker is likely to reflect on glorious deeds of the soldiers, or other soldiers like them, or their ancestors, there is generally not a focus on how fearsome or scary or strong they are because no one feels scary or strong when they are terrified. The next we see, they are apparently in the Coomb, at a stop, slashing down from their horses which, I must stress, is the worst possible situation for cavalry – stopped and completely enveloped by heavy infantry. That is the picture and comparison the kenning was meant to evoke. Yet even here, their effect should not be overstated. But they did give them and they did seem to think they were important. And that second point is forceful; even if battle speeches were not standard before Thucydides, it is hard to see how generals in the centuries after him could resist giving them once they became a standard trope of ‘what good generals do.’. Each Orc schemes for his own advantage at the expense of all of the others and frequently his master besides. It’s a bit dislocated, but all of the elements are there. It’s hard to see how this sort of brittle courage would be likely to do much to fortify the spirit in the face of the actual terror of battle. I can’t help but suspect that the St. Crispin’s Day Speech of Henry V has a part (written, we must remember, nearly 200 years after the event). Details to follow. Etymology is not a safe guide to sense. What I do not know is where Tolkien’s habit of capping off these short poems with a tricolon (a succession of three balanced phrases; an important variation of this is where the phrases get longer or more complex, called a ‘rising’ tricolon) in the final line comes from; I am not anywhere near widely read enough in Norse or Old English poetry to tell you if this is a feature of it. Because while Greeks and Romans deliver prose orations, Anglo-Saxon warriors sing and so do the Rohirrim. Samwise Gamgee: I know. More to the point, Erkenbrand arrives later (though likely only a short time later), so while I think that Théoden and Éomer’s joint attack probably would have pushed into the coomb all the same, the delay would have meant far more severe casualties among the Rohirrim. Now we can compare some of our Rohirrim poems: Arise, Arise, Riders of Théoden!Fell deeds awake; fire and slaughter!spear shall be shaken, shield be splintered,a sword-day, a red day, ere the sun rises!Ride now, ride now! Script It’s no surprise that Saruman’s army mirrors his own cowardice. At Assaye and elsewhere they seem to have milled around out of range of the enemy, despite grossly outnumbering them, and left as soon as the rest of their side was defeated. The modern pre-battle general’s speech is quite old. The battle for Middle Earth: HELMS DEEP #5 HD. It seems to me that the arrival of any force in the rear of Saruman’s host would have been likely to effect the same morale shock. But of course, a whole bunch of Elves materialize out of the thin air to make Aragorn right against all reason as a way of underscoring the intended resolution of this conflict. But this is the standard structure of a battle speech in the Western literary canon, and speeches with this standard structure, or variations of it, appear frequently. Leaning into the black satire of having his arch-villain deliver a textbook general’s speech and generally performing Roman generalship flawlessly (even going down in a blaze of glory at the end) while still being a practically mustache twirling villain, Sallust has his Catiline deliver the near-perfect formulaic general’s speech. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you. Théoden has been told that a host “ten thousand strong, at least” is coming and he goes to make preparations. Full text and audio mp3 of Movie Speech: Return of the King - Aragorn Battle Speech at the Black Gate Remember: the purpose of the speech isn’t to pump someone up before the charge, it is to emotionally prepare them for the moment when the emotional momentum of the charge is spent and the fear of death comes crashing in to replace it. The emotion being touched here is pretty clearly pride, tapping into a desire not to let one’s self, one’s community or one’s comrades down. That’s something to steel the courage, not sap it; think of your families who are in this very castle, counting on your bravery. You can support this project via Patreon, and by spreading the word! VIII) from both J.R.R. Now, there is tremendous debate as to if these speeches were ever delivered and if so, how they were delivered (see the bibliography note below; none of this is really original to me). The Marathas were often able to mobilise many thousands of these cavalry purely with the promise of loot, but it’s fascinating how *useless* they often were in any situation they might need to risk their necks. Théoden’s decision to use the fortress is pretty obviously vindicated, given that he wins against overwhelming odds in a battle he would certainly lose in the field. Then he gives some ‘grounds for confidence’ which double as ‘past deeds’ (“no army has ever breached the Deeping Wall, or set foot inside the Hornburg”). Likewise, while ‘the cause’ often figures into such speeches, it does so as a subordinate element; some kind of group membership – the nation, the polis, the legion, comrades-in-arms – is often more prominent (note how Eisenhower’s speech crafts concentric circles of groups that the listener belongs to, watching and depending on the listener; ‘liberty-loving people everywhere’ -> ‘the United Nations’ and ‘our Allies’ -> ‘our homefront’ -> finally ‘us’ and ‘we’). It is remarkably by just how blandly typical it is and that was clearly Sallust’s intent. In front of a large audience, the comedian peppered in jokes about Netflix and student loans before turning a harsh eye on the Rolling Stone rape story scandal, which has drawn widespread condemnation and lawsuits against the magazine. There is a statement in Old English that a hron was about seven times the size of a seal, and a hwael about seven times the size of a hron. Napoleon famously advised his officers to study Caesar, Hannibal and Alexander the Great (along with Frederick II and the best general you’ve never heard of, Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden). In any event, the set of events is more complex: the good guys deliver a rapid series of morale shocks which overwhelms the cohesion of Saruman’s host, causing it to retreat from a fight it could have won. A question on a post? Well, let’s look at the form. 6 years ago | 4 views. We see them slightly lift their pikes (but not break or retreat) and then they are instantly swept away. As much as I love Helms Deep, that get's my vote. There's nothing new. The sharp line divisions and the heavy use of alliteration seem straight out of Beowulf. It is certainly not because the genre of the battle speech was more interesting in a literary sense than other forms of rhetoric, because oh my it wasn’t. Select Post; Deselect Post; Link to Post; Member. - King Theoden. Éomer should be pretty roundly crushed at this point; he can’t stop because of the slope and his momentum and he’s facing a solid wall of Uruks in good order with pikes down. This line and speech are definitely one of the most inspiring from the entire series. 4.92-95). Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. Yes. In this particular instance the unfortunate sound-association with ‘railroad’ increases the ineptitude. But that speech is a thesis-statement for a play that is fundamentally about memory and commemoration (seriously, read the opening chorus), not battle motivation – consider how the speech’s thesis of “when we live through this, it’ll be nice to talk about it” would play to men who do not expect to live through this. 4,373 words On August 2, 1983, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill creating a legal public holiday in honor of the Rev. It does not mean the actual ‘track’ — still less the hard paved permanent and more or less straight tracks that we associate with the ‘road’. Playing next. Middle Earth is a world animated by spiritual forces that exist beyond the physical world but are no less real than it. This is a pretty terrible plan given the terrain in the courtyard and the winding stair between them and the causeway (note below the contrast in topography; by making the situation more desperate, Jackson has made this charge a bit more foolish; he’s also removed the reason it works). King Théoden's grievous speech while Gamling is putting on his armour, before the battle of Helm's Deep begins. The United Nations have inflicted upon the Germans great defeats, in open battle, man to man. For my part, while I think we need to be alive to the fact that what we see in our textual sources are dressed up literary compressions of the tradition of the pre-battle speech, I suspect that, particularly by the Roman period, yes, such speeches were a part of the standard practice of generalship. Good Luck! Your enemy is well trained, well equipped and battle-hardened. Let this be the hour when we draw swords together. For forces defending on their own ground, the home-field advantage may be stressed. Greek and Roman oratory was, by the first century or so, quite well developed and relatively formulaic, even rigid, in structure. Deep Speech But a series of sudden shocks, delivered close together, might rout the army. I don’t think that’s really odd. Nevertheless, Gandalf has apparently timed this charge to blind the Uruks with the rising sun. I don’t want to belabor that point (overmuch). The other 8 STTs, they're Bag End, Gothmog, King of the Dead, Minas Morgul, Minas Tirith, Smeagol, The Black Gate and Isengard. Now for ruin! I am honestly a bit flummoxed as to why Jackson removed the poetic nature of these lines in so many cases. Both of these armies experience serious setbacks that test their cohesion. they jeered. They must be, in many cases, invented or polished versions; in many cases the author would have no way of knowing the real words actually said. In contrast, disaster after catastrophe, the Rohirrim, bound by strong sets of vertical and horizontal social ties (that is, ties between leaders and followers and ties between equals, be they aristocrat-to-aristocrat or levyman-to-levyman), regroup around their leaders, recover and push back again. “Tolkien imagines battles as fundamentally mental and spiritual contests where morale is the decisive factor.”. It is only then that Erkenbrand’s force – infantry, not cavalry – arrives and, moving down the slope, ends the battle by shoving the collapsing Orcs into the trees, where they are destroyed. Fell deeds awake. Deep Speech was the language of aberrations, an alien form of communication originating in the Far Realm. It’s reasonable to suppose then that composing these short poems ‘on the fly’ (or having them prepared) may well be part of the Rohirrim’s expectations for what good kingship, generalship and general martial excellence look like, in which case, seeing their king performing that role with excellence could be confidence building – “I may not understand the plan, but we have a good general and thus a good plan.”. But as you all remember from our Siege of Gondor series weapons are often not the determinant element in our battles and they never are in the battles of Middle Earth; battles turn on morale. You do your soldiers no favors by concealing from them the terror they will experience regardless. Follow. The free men of the world are marching together to Victory! They’re not generally military historians, even at an amateur level (unlike many officers now) and thus not likely familiar with modern versions of this kind of speech. They are quite distant, beyond even Helm’s Dike and at no point do the Orcs turn to engage them (probably fortunate for the Huorns; as strong as they may be, Saruman has had little problem killing and burning them so far – it seems likely, as Treebeard supposes (TT, 106) that had they met an Orc army that turned to fight them, the Huorns would have been defeated. Saruman’s speech to the Uruk-hai in Fellowship of the Ring fits the bill quite clearly (“You do not know pain; you do not know fear; you will taste man-flesh!”). If the encouragement of the speech (and the general’s presence) is meant to defuse deimos, openly discussing the fearfulness of the enemy (but couching it in terms of how it may be overcome) is meant to rob phobos of his sting. Book Note: Now, I said above that Tolkien doesn’t use battle speeches. So let’s look at another very standard and somewhat more recent example, appropriate for June: Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force! The Uruks do not break or run away, they are just plowed down as Snowmane (Théoden’s horse) just battering-rams through them; this is not, I must stress, how cavalry works. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Consequently, later European commanders tended for quite some time to replicate these tropes (examples to follow). Combined with the soundtrack and the visual callback to Nazi propaganda, it does that job – intimidating the audience – quite well. As always, if you like what you are reading here, please share it; if you really like it, you can support me on Patreon. And we need not speculate on the possibility of such a force, because it comes over the hillside only minutes later. Homes rebuilt. The linchpin of the battle, though, and what makes it such a benchmark in movie history, is how it serves Two Towers beyond just being something cool to look at. If we wanted to investigate this formula, ideally we’d look to some battle speech so typical, so absolutely normal that it could serve as our model. rad is the ancestor of our modern word ‘road’, but it does not mean ‘road’. Moreover, the Uruks get into a dense formation, with their pikes down. When paired with the general’s own cause for hope, acknowledging the fearsome nature of the enemy and the general terror of battle is a way to inoculate the soldiers against the seizing fear of battle. Nonetheless it is quite incorrect to translate it (as it is all too frequently translated) ‘whale road’. And it is here that I think that Tolkien’s vision of war shows some advantages over Jackson’s. Crops can be resown. They are, I should be quick to add, not the only ones; if these short poems remind you of haiku, they probably should – extemporaneous poetry is prominent in the literature of Japan’s Samurai class, like the Heike Monogatori (the Tale of the Heike). Most of the helms deep models were done by myself, trying to ensure that every last detail is displayed in this map. Much has happened since the Nazi triumphs of 1940-1. As we’ve seen above, that basic structure (here is our plan -> here is why the enemy is scary -> here is why we will beat them anyway -> and here are the high stakes of this battle) is exactly what a good general would say to his army. And if you want updates whenever a new post appears, you can click below for email updates or follow me on twitter (@BretDevereaux) for updates as to new posts as well as my occasional ancient history, foreign policy or military history musings. But zooming back in to look at only this battle, I think it’s not hard to conclude, given the balance of forces (book or film), that Saruman’s host vastly underperformed. How shall any tower withstand such numbers and such reckless hate?" First, Aragorn delivers his parlay, a demoralizing warning about the dawn, enhanced by the almost-supernatural awe of his heritage (TT, 171). Thanks for sharing it! Here, the book’s narrative really shows some of its value in that it expresses this as sweeping waves – again and again the Rohirrim are driven back, put on the back foot and again and again they regroup and push back. At the same time, it’s clear that this kind of poetic composition is part of Rohirrim aristocratic culture; not only Théoden but also Éomer compose such short verses in battle. He mixes and matches the poems (pairing “Out of doubt’s” final line with “Arise, Arise’s” middle line) but even when “Arise, Arise” gets delivered in Return of the King as a prose speech, rather than as a poem. That said, it is possible to deliver an effective, doctrinaire battle speech in a film; Master and Commander: Far Side of the World (2003) – a film that marinates lovingly in the realia of its period – has Captain Aubrey deliver a textbook classical battle speech to his crew before the final, successful battle. It really does feel like video-game logic; Gandalf used his magic spell to disable the Uruk formation bonus and without that +200% attack-and-defense vs. cavalry, Éomer’s unit swept in and chewed them up. The Lord of the Rings Online: Helm's Deep is the fifth expansion for the MMORPG The Lord of the Rings Online. Leave none alive! The charge of the Rohirrim, Theodens speech before the charge, the Mumaks. The information Gimli and Aragorn are relaying is necessary, the soldiers should be told it, but in a controlled environment, by their own leader (read: Théoden) and in a context where the steps they need to take to prevent that dire outcome (prepare! You can see the basic core building-blocks of the classical battle speech: a description of the fearsome enemy, a set of reasons to expect success anyway, rooted in past deeds, and a laying out of the high stakes (in this case, the dire peril of defeat). Report. ( Log Out /  After film!Théoden is done breaking character despairing and giving up, he resolves to charge when Aragorn suggests riding out. Soldiers going into battle often look to their leaders to perform leadership. March to Helm’s Deep! And I think the chapter, “The Voice of Saruman” is actually fantastically well-written to give a sense of how wise and reasonable-sounding Saruman can be, even when he is peddling lies and foolishness. That means he needs to coordinate his blows so that the shocks come fast enough that the Orcs have no time to regroup and regain composure; the horn provides a way of signalling Éomer – who with Gimli and a good amount of the Rohirrim, is holed up in the caves – to also attack at the same time. I wanted to be fairly thorough in these recaps to as to make clear one thing that has been coming up in the comments: the Huorns’ role in actually winning the battle is minimal in both versions (though more substantial in the book than the film). Hatred is a poor salve for fear. ( Log Out /  Do you want to scream incoherently into the endless void that is the internet? But I want to draw out two things here; the cause of the host’s collapse and how that fits into the contrast between how J.R.R. But for now, we have to ask if these speeches are not coming from the books (although some of them are adapted from the books), where are they coming from? Now, we have already discussed many of the factors that go into morale and cohesion, in this series and the previous one. In an actual battle, had the Uruks stood and fought (as they appear initially to be doing) the Rohorrim cavalry would have been unhorsed and slain very rapidly; the riders may be armored but their horses are not and each rider is enveloped by a half-dozen Uruks. With such a lackluster officer class, it’s not hard to see why this army falls apart. It’s funny you should use that example, because Tolkien himself was decidedly not in favour of that translation. I think the best possible place to begin (in English) is J.E. Translation Seamus Heaney, available in a number of editions). The world changes, and all that once was strong now proves unsure. Helm's Deep, with its fortress the Hornburg, becomes the refuge of some of the army of Rohan, the Rohirrim, under King Théoden, from assault by the forces of Saruman. Except that in the books, these lines aren’t presented as a speech (in prose), but as a poem. We’ve spoken already at length about morale and cohesion, discussing why the Rohirrim are likely to hold together to the last and why Saruman’s host is likely to crumble if it faces serious difficulties. That said, as a marker of Saruman’s overconfident arrogance – a theme we will pick up next week – it also serves to develop his character further. King Theodens speech in the Two Towers at Helms Deep. Since in this version Éomer has arrived with a large body of horse that could have as easily pursued and destroyed the Uruks themselves, the effect of the Huorns is almost non-existent. Helm's Deep was a valley in the north-western White Mountains of Middle-earth. And of course, we have the body of literature that records these speeches. There’s no effort by Saruman’s host to get the fortress to surrender under terms and their campaign of devastating seems engineered to harden rather than soften the Rohirrim’s resolve. Book Note: In the book, Théoden, not Aragorn suggests riding out (TT, 170). J.R.R. That’s a fascinating little bit of information and quite an insight into the mind of the venerable professor himself – not to mention the state of etymology! Movie-makers are not generally classically trained (unlike many of the officers of the early modern and modern period) and thus aren’t familiar with the originals. It seems likely that without the Huorns, the Rohirrim would have still won, but a good portion of Saruman’s host would have escaped, the (significant!) This is is the seventh part of a series taking a historian’s look at the Battle of Helm’s Deep (I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII. Including all new banners and animations to give the map a realistic feel. Finally, the mere existence of the genre. Quest: Defend the wall against the first wave of invaders. At every stage, save for some brief worries at the very lowest part of the siege, Théoden and Gandalf (and Aragorn) are in general agreement and make far wiser decisions. Indeed, I turn your fearful mind into my friend – when the real thing fails to live up to your worst nightmares, you’ll draw confidence from that. I dislike this added character tension and quite frankly think that Peter Jackson’s drive to add conflict is one of his weaker storytelling impulses, marring an otherwise incredible adaptation. This sort of poetry is less an exercise in leadership (like the general’s battle-speech) and more one of self-definition and aristocratic display. Aberrations While it took until the late 1940s for group-cohesion-theory to really emerge on its own, these sorts of speeches show an awareness of what seems to be a timeless truth: the cause may get you to the battle, but only comrades will hold you in it when the dying starts (on this, note especially J. McPherson, For Cause and Comrades (1997)). There are many reasons why a general might need to ‘lead from behind’ (typically coordinating multiple armies), but none of them apply here, and a savvier leader ought to have known that an army this green and this weakly organized would need to have its charismatic leader with it to function effectively. I don’t mean that they are stupid. The Hollywood battle speech derives from this tradition; it sits in the narrative place it does because of the role of battle speeches in Greek and Roman literature and the lasting influence that has. are clear. Forgotten Realms Wiki is a FANDOM Games Community. In this note I comment on the current idea that ‘speech-acts’ ought to supplant propositions in our view of divine revelation, (this 'propositionalist' view has been called the ‘Hodge-Henry hypothesis). Crucially, pre-battle speeches, alone among the standard kinds of rhetoric, refuse to follow the standard formulas of Greek and Roman rhetoric. Did they give these speeches? Helm's Deep Philosophical Theology. In the film, the Huorns only destroy an army that is already routing, having been defeated in melee with Éomer’s cavalry. 24:43. This night, the land will be stained with the blood of Rohan! “You’ve done this before” is a good line (so is “our people have always beaten their people”) but “Remember, we are lions” is not. Thus, poetry was one of the core skills of knighthood (along with the more directly martial skills). No, probably not; Plutarch says as much (Mor. They are pulled out, italicized and indented to mark that they are verse, but it would be hard not to notice that they aren’t exactly normal speech anyway (Jackson has, in the event, edited them to remove their meter; by intent or otherwise, I do not know). Alternately, a general may note a superiority in numbers, materiel, tactical position; he may discuss his battle-plan and how it is likely to bring victory. No help comes from the top, as Saruman sends his army out to fight and die while he hides in his tower. Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy is studded with a set of notable pre-battle speeches, or spots where the dialogue fills in for one. Consequently, Théoden isn’t charging head-on into a solid mass of Orcs, but rather pursuing a retreating body of Orcs down the causeway. This worries the Dunlendings, but not the orcs, who press on, bringing down the gate with another round of blasting fire. This is not a particularly creative genre. Analysis 5 - Are revealed truths timeless? 1 “THERE IS ALWAYS HOPE.” Aragorn says this line to a young man before the Battle of Helm’s Deep, and it’s a great line that can also apply to many other life situations. You know, the kind of stuff you’d expect a battlefield scholar to use to restore morale! One of the marks of good generalship for the Romans was if a general could go up and down the line, calling out individual soldiers and reminding them of great deeds they had performed (Caesar does this, for instance; note Catiline’s opponent, Marcus Petreius encourages his soldiers this way, calling out each one – his is an army of veterans – by name, 59.4). Second, it’s a clever bit of signal work. Henry V is, in no small part, Shakespeare musing on how important people like Shakespeare are (or aren’t) for writing plays; much like Game of Thrones Season Eight, except good. And how does morale play into the conclusion of this battle? When the test turns out to be exactly like I said, the encouragement carries more weight because of the reliability of the warning. Although there had been little discussion of the bill in the House itself and little awareness among the American public that Congress was even considering such a … The King Holiday & Its Meaning Read More » Finally, I think it is worth noting what is not generally here. 4.96.1). Except I don’t buy it. Now for wrath! Gandalf: The battle of Helm's Deep is over; the battle for Middle Earth is about to begin. If you want a longer discussion of this framing, I suggest M. Dickerson, Following Gandalf (2003), where he assembles the evidence for this.

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